Budgies are usually even-tempered and friendly birds. So, it’s unusual if your budgie suddenly turns aggressive. It may hiss, bite, chase, and ward off other budgies.
Budgies become aggressive when they need to defend their territory. This happens in overcrowded cages or where two budgies don’t get along, so they’ll defend their perches, toys, and food dishes.
Also, females show aggressive behavior during the mating season to protect their young.
To curb aggression, ensure the cage is large enough with various food and water dishes. Spend more time with the budgies so that they don’t become jealous of each other.
If two budgies don’t get along, they may need to be separated.
Why Do Budgies Fight?
Budgies can have a temper, fighting and acting aggressively. In most cases, a temper will rise and fall away quickly. The rare times that it doesn’t and will require your intervention.
Budgies usually fight or act aggressively for the following reasons:
- Mating season (hormones)
- Territorial behavior
Also, unusual and persistent aggression can arise among mistreated or neglected budgies. Social and behavioral rehabilitation will be required.
An overcrowded bird cage leads to social and behavioral problems in budgies.
Budgies need personal space, and cage-bound budgies need this even more. When deprived of space, they can become territorial and aggressive, staking out territory and jealously defending it.
Overcrowding leads to budgies picking on their cage mates and biting at your fingers. They can become defensive of food, water, toys, and perches. This aggression often sees the more timid birds suffering the most, becoming over-stressed and unhealthy.
At a minimum, a budgie needs an 18 x 18 x 18-inch cage. For every additional bird in the cage, it should double in size. Each bird should be able to fully stretch its wings and move around freely without knocking into anything.
Ideally, you should give your budgies the largest cage possible.
Budgies are hormonal during mating season, becoming defensive and displaying aggression.
Male budgies become protective of their territory and mates, while females become territorial when nesting, fiercely protecting their eggs and chicks.
Extra hormones can give budgies a shorter temper. A budgie will be quicker to warn other budgies away when protecting their young or wanting some alone time.
Fortunately, as noted by the Handbook of Exotic Pet Medicine, the breeding cycle of budgies is relatively short, and tempers should diminish once the season has concluded.
Budgies are accustomed to living in large flocks, learning how to live with other birds. They can be territorial over their favorite perches, toys, and people.
Dominant budgies pick on timid flock members, bite them, and ward them away from food and water. A larger cage, more toys, more perches, and extra food and water dishes can be beneficial.
If this is ineffective, the aggressors will need to be put in another cage to keep the others safe.
Budgies, especially previously solo budgies, can become jealous when a new budgie, animal, adult, or baby is introduced to the home.
Aggressive behavior is an outlet a jealous budgie will take to show its displeasure.
It is important to show your budgie the same level of attention, if not more, when a new budgie or individual is introduced. In most cases, the jealousy fit will last only a few days.
For whatever reason, budgies sometimes don’t get along.
Aggressive behavior sparks between two individual birds. Wild budgies can resolve inter-bird tension by giving each other space, but captive birds don’t have that option.
Carefully introducing new budgies can prevent friction. However, if the budgies don’t get along, there’s nothing that can be done, so they’ll need separate cages.
Signs of Aggressive Behavior in Budgies
Now that we understand why budgies become aggressive, let’s take a closer look at how different aggressive behaviors manifest:
Budgies use their beaks to show dominance and ward off others with feisty displays and painful bites.
Monitor biting and pecking when there’s friction between birds. Social grooming is normal. Unfortunately, picking and over-preening can occasionally be mistaken for normal grooming.
Spotting the difference between good and bad behavior depends on how the budgies interact. Biting at another budgie’s feet is always aggressive. Also, budgies feign a bite as a warning.
Here’s some advice on stopping budgies biting.
Overly aggressive budgies may chase others down persistently. This is stressful for the target and can result in injury and ill health.
Budgies are very vocal birds. A select few of their vocalizations are aggressive, namely hissing. Budgies that are angry and want to warn another away can make a throaty hiss.
It isn’t uncommon for budgies to squabble over food and water when several different birds try to access them simultaneously.
However, if one or more budgies deliberately guard the resources and prevent others from accessing them, you have a problem.
Budgies that guard food may go out of their way to stop another from eating or drinking. They may make a lot of noise, nip, and bite at the other bird’s tail feathers.
Budgies gearing up for a tussle may raise their wings but not fully extend them.
This is the budgie trying to make itself look bigger and more threatening. The idea is to convince the other budgie that it shouldn’t be messed with.
Why Do Budgies Bite Each Other?
Budgies peck each other’s feathers as a part of normal and healthy grooming behavior.
As Biology Letters notes, allogrooming serves an important social function. Budgies will ‘bite’ their feathers to remove debris and spread preening oil along each feather.
In allogrooming, budgies will groom one another on the head and neck, where the bird can’t reach itself. This grows and reinforces the bond between flock members. It is also a behavior that parent budgies will perform for their young.
Of course, biting can also be an aggressive behavior, which causes confusion.
Why Do Budgies Attack Their Babies?
It’s, it’s sometimes instinctive for a budgie to attack and kill its chicks. A budgie will kill a sick or deformed chick to increase the survival odds of the others.
Male budgies, even the father, may kill chicks out of jealousy. First-time parents may also kill their chicks out of stress. However, this is more common in hand-raised budgies.
Why Do Budgies Attack Each Other?
If it’s the breeding season and two males are fighting, they’re likely competing for a female’s attention.
It can also appear as if the male budgie is attacking female budgies when vying for their attention. If he won’t leave her alone, it can turn around on him with the female budgie bullying the male.
Budgies sometimes attack each other when defending nesting sites. Females tend to be more aggressive and will warn away males and females they dislike.
Why Do Budgies Bite Each Other’s Tails?
If you’ve noticed a budgie pulling the tail of another budgie, this is rarely a behavior to worry over.
Most of the time, this is play. The intention isn’t to tear out the feathers or damage them but to be teasing. It’s almost like a game of ‘got your nose’ that adults play with young children.
Can Budgies Kill Each Other?
Budgies rarely kill one another intentionally, but budgies can accidentally kill each other.
A bite that goes too deep can cause fatal bleeding. A startled flight to escape an aggressive budgie may cause the fleer to fly into an object, breaking a bone. Also, wounds can become infected.
A budgie that’s unable to access food or water due to another budgie guarding it will quickly fall ill. It takes around 24 hours for a budgie to starve to death.
Why Is My Budgie Aggressive Towards Me?
If a budgie is acting aggressively toward you, you may have made a misstep and not realized it.
Did you discard its favorite toy? Did you change its environment? Monitor how the budgie responds to you over the next few days. Forgiveness often comes quickly for such minor slights.
Budgies can be aggressive toward people when defending their territory or due to jealousy. The former allows the budgie to come out of the cage and onto your hand instead of reaching inside the cage. For the latter, jealous fits will pass in time.
Always supervise children when they’re handling birds. Being mishandled can teach a budgie to avoid being handled, so you’ll have to gradually earn that trust back over time.
In most cases, budgie aggression is fleeting, resolving itself within days. Lingering aggression will need certain adjustments, depending on what’s causing the animosity.